Restrictive medical diets suck. They are hard for the person who has to stick to them. They are hard for the people around them. A simple trip to the supermarket can bring feelings of loss and grief for foods that once sat proudly on your plate. And not just junk foods. The foods that you thought were good for you like onions, that a lot of people can’t tolerate, that sit in the produce section begging you to take them home.
It is tough to stick to a restrictive diet for medical reasons when people around you think you are being a pain in the arse.
I have endometriosis. This is a really painful condition. Hormones are all out of whack. Bits and pieces in the body are not where they should be. Not only do the reproductive organs function poorly in this condition, but other internal organs responsible for digestion, such as the liver, are under enormous stress.
I’ve finally discovered a wonderful lady who advocates for the Endometriosis Diet. I had been to various doctors, nutritionists and naturopaths over the last decade and all had suggested things like go gluten free, cut out processed sugars, etc. But no one had explained why. This was vital information that turned out to be the most important thing that would motivate me to stick to a restrictive diet. Enter Melissa, my gut saviour. The problem was, I’d never had a bad diet and I’d never had a weight issue in my life. So why would I have a problem with natural digestion and detoxification in the body? Why do I need to change a healthy diet? The problem was, I was eating the wrong kinds of right foods. Even some healthy foods set off painful reactions in Endo bodies. The problem was, when I was told to eat a gluten-free diet, I just found gluten-free substitutes of everything – which are often more full of junk than the originals. WARNING: gluten-free does not necessarily equate to healthy. See Melissa’s post of her similar experience.
The Endometriosis Diet
No gluten, no dairy, limit to small amounts of good meats, no soy products, no processed sugars. They are the main culprits for pain. Yes I am a pain in the arse to my family and friends. I have a beautiful soul mate friend who I stay with in the city who always cooks me gluten-free meals (something special and creative each time!) when I come to stay. I will be forever grateful to her for supporting me, not just in the physical health sense but by not allowing me to know if she even gives two shits about having to accommodate my digestive system. She accommodates me with a smile and an excitement about what she can prepare me next that leaves me feeling light and loved. I love her so dearly for that.
My parents (full-bloods and out-laws!) have all stocked their fridges with dairy-free milk alternatives and other such products for years but the dinner meals seemed like such a hassle that when they asked I would always say I would eat whatever they prepared. And they worried I was cutting out too many “good foods” from my diet, like milk and flour. They grew up in the time when the government told them they had to consume these things as major parts of the daily diet. What the government didn’t let them know is that you can get the same nutrients from green veggies but they’ll also have the vitamins and amino acids in them that you need to absorb those important nutrients that you are eating them for. They didn’t tell them about the substitutes for meat that are much higher in protein but much kinder to the digestive system. So cow products will provide you calcium but not the vital nutrient you need to absorb that calcium!
When I started to be mindful about eating and noticing my endo experience, I realised that every meal had the potential to send sharp pains through my body. Every meal! And gluten stays in the system for months so one meal can play havoc for a long time. It’s not worth being laid back about it to save others the hassle. The problem is, (gee, I see a pattern of problems emerging!) that others can’t feel what it feels like. Or know how important it is for me to create the optimal environment for my future bambinos.
My advice…defuse from it and do it anyway! It’s your body and your future health, release all guilt and stick to what makes your body and soul smile. Do a free meditation and allow all feelings of “being a hassle” to float away, coming and going when it pleases but not holding you tightly. You are worth the hassle, never forget that.
(Just an FYI, I’m still grappling with this so don’t beat yourself up too much. I’m writing this sitting in an Italian restaurant, my heart sunk so deep when my family chose to eat here – my love for pizza pasta is close to my love for Peter Pan, so…a lot of love! And I timidly just asked whether the restaurant has any dairy-free cheese like goats cheese and then felt like “that” customer when she went to check with the chef. By the way, the waitress was lovely and didn’t mind at all and yet. And yet it felt wrong to ask. To be a pest.)
So I guess this is my BIG sorry to my family and friends for being a literal pain in your arse. You all know how much I love food, so I would love to not have to trawl through menus to pick the least bad food for my particular gut. It is also my plea for your support, I can’t do it without you. But the pain is worse than annoying you. The thought of not having kids is worse than annoying you. The thought of my poor struggling liver, putting on her hardhat and steel-capped boots to work in poor job conditions each day when she should have a cushy desk job, is worse than annoying you.
Yours in courage and persistence,
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